Belleville’s Weekend Games

It was a wacky weekend for me so I had to watch both games after the fact. There were similarities between the two games (sloppy but entertaining), but the BSens were better in their win (the close score was more a matter of Mike McKenna having an off day). We saw players progress to the mean as the punchless depth came to life to shift their numbers towards the norm. With that said, the top line continues to be the engine that drives things.

Belleville 3, Hartford 4
Shots: 28-43
PP: 1-5
PK: 5-6
Goaltender: Filip Gustavsson (39-43)
Rodewald (Batherson, Chlapik) (pp)
Beauchemin (Tambellini)
Burgdoerfer (Murray, Rodewald)

Belleville 5, Rochester 4 (OT)
Shots: 30-36
PP: 2-6
PK: 2-3
Goaltender: Mike McKenna (32-36)
Gagne (Balcers, Sieloff)
Rodewald (Burgdoerfer, Balisy)
Balisy (Gagne, Murray) (pp)
Tambellini (Percy, Gagne) (pp)
Balisy (Wolanin)

Context
Hartford arrived with a mediocre record (3-2-1) and played their backup Alexander Georgiev (a 2017 FA). The team featured former BSens’ Cole Schneider and Bobby Butler (both of whom scored).

Rochester rolled in with an impressive 5-2-0 record and they also played their backup (the middling Adam Wilcox). Former BSen ‘good in the corners, garbage on the ice’ Tyler Randell played and was a non-factor.

Lines
In the loss the only change was the removal of Paul (NHL) and return of Chlapik (who is still battling injury). In the Rochester game liability Andreas Englund sat and the little-used Ryan Scarfo was dressed, but there was one other change of note: Gabriel Gagne was taken off the second line and Jack Rodewald promoted to it (this seemed to help the former considerably).

Special Teams
No changes were made and the second unit provided some offense by scoring both man-advantage goals against Rochester. The team is now 8-31 (25.8%), which is excellent. I’d still like to see Julius Bergman on the PP, but given these results it’s unlikely barring injury.

The PK continues to struggle as the BSens streak of allowing a pp-goal every game remains intact. Mann continues to make adjustments–while the Sieloff-Burgdoerfer duo continue to begin and end the PK D-rotation (as noted previously)–top forwards have been removed from the equation (ie, no more Chlapik or Balcers). The forward rotation is also much tighter, with LaBate-Rodewald remaining the primary duo, but Balisy plus another forward are now the only replacement. When we’re through October I’ll go through the various numbers specific to the deployments.

Other Notes
-The team has scored 19 goals in 4 games–not a sustainable rate, but impressive nonetheless
-It’s a joy to watch the top-line play and I encourage anyone who can to spend some time doing so before inevitably its broken up due to call-ups (two really cerebral players in Chlapik and Batherson complimented by a guy with great hands in Balcers)
-It’s beating a dead horse, but I’ll note again that Englund can’t complete a pass
-It’s been a nice start for Rodewald (echoing last season), but I want to emphasize his lack of hockey sense and his poor puck distribution (this was on display in the Hartford game where in the second period, on a 4-on-2, he passed to no one leading to an odd-man rush the other way)
-I’m not a fan of Jordan Murray, but the numbers are currently there despite his foibles, so as long as he produces I’ll do my best to shut-up about him
Scarfo‘s limited TOI against Rochester was not pretty and I’m sure at the first opportunity he’ll be replaced with a better player and be returned to Brampton

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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